One adult trying to intimidate or coerce another is sadly a very common occurrence. From a mild confrontation with a stranger brought on by stress to one of the harsher forms: statements and actions by one person directed towards another person causing the target to suffer needlessly. It is a negative part of everyday life for most people. There is a standard legal definition of stalking, but common sense points out stalking when we see the evidence of harassment of one individual against another in a repeated, obsessive and alarming manner. The terror of the victim is self-evident. They are frightened, intimidated, and threatened causing distress and mental suffering.
- It is against Oklahoma state law to willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow or harass another person in a manner that causes the person to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened.
Misdemeanor v Felony
A common piece of comedic urban folklore tells us “it is not illegal to be a jerk” when, in reality, it is. One-time occurrences of harassment generally go unnoticed, and sometimes even repeated events by one individual go unpunished. But it is, in fact, against Oklahoma state law. If the behavior is repeated, severe, and directed towards one person, the perpetrator could be charged with Stalking. This misdemeanor is punishable by up to one (1) year in jail or up to a $1,000.00.
An individual can be charged with Felony Stalking punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and or up to a $2,500.00 fine if:
- The victim has requested and been granted a Court Order prohibiting the behavior or there is a Court ordered injunction.
- The individual is on parole, the conditions of which prohibit them from stalking the victim, and they continue to harass or stalk the victim.
- They have been convicted of stalking the victim in the last 10 years and they harass or stalk the victim.
- They have been convicted of stalking the victim, even if it is more than 10 years, and there is a Court Order or Injunction in place protecting the victim.
- They have been convicted of threatening violence against the victim or their family in the last 10 years and they harass or stalk the victim or their family.
Prior Stalking Convictions
Once an individual has been convicted of Felony Stalking, the penalties can be much harsher. They can receive up to ten (10) years in prison and up to a $5,000.00 fine. These more severe sentences can be handed down if the individual commits a second act of Felony Stalking and the first conviction was in the last ten (10) years, even if the victim is not the same person.
Being knowledgeable about the subject can give you the tools to help yourself or someone you love if they are the victim of stalking. You may need an attorney to petition the Court on your behalf to grant an Order of Protection. For the State to intervene and protect you by putting your stalker in jail, they must follow the law as described above. Help the State do this by retaining counsel to ensure the case against the stalker is documented and strong.
Harassment and Stalking are serious crimes that can carry some very hefty penalties. If you have been accused or charged with stalking, legal representation is a must and should be sought immediately. This is particularly true if the accusations are completely unfounded. Your behavior in the past and in the future will be under investigation, and you need sound counsel as well as a long-term plan. Without representation, your future could be at the mercy of the Court.